A map of the United States showing the 5G network

The age of 5G network service is finally here.

As of today, you can officially buy the 5G version of the Samsung Galaxy S10 smartphone, which starts at $1,300. Right now, it's exclusive to Verizon, but will be available at other carriers in the summer.

And Sprint says preorders for its exclusive LG V50 ThinQ will start on Friday, with the phone slated to reach stores on May 31.

More on 5G and Smartphones

Earlier this spring, Verizon turned on 5G service in parts of Chicago and Minneapolis. And Motorola started selling a $200 attachment that makes its Motorola Z3 phone 5G-compatible, marking the technical dawn of the 5G age.

But that was a small first step—with many more to follow. All four of the major telecommunications carriers say they’ll have 5G networks up and running by this summer, but only in select parts of a few big cities. A handful of smartphone makers, big and small, plan to offer compatible 5G phones around the same time.

According to telecommunications experts, 5G speeds—five times faster than 4G connections at peak performance—will eventually allow users to download a movie in just 5 seconds. They’ll also pave the way for the instantaneous response times required to safely perform robotic surgery and operate self-driving cars that communicate with other vehicles and road infrastructure.

Here’s a look at the broader 5G landscape, including which parts of the U.S. should get 5G service first.

5G Networks

The carrier's 5G service has officially started in Chicago and Minneapolis, though it's currently limited to a few neighborhoods and the areas surrounding flagship Verizon stores. 

The company says it plans to roll out 5G service to parts of more than 30 U.S. cities this year. Last month, it announced that those cities will include Atlanta; Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Cincinnati; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Des Moines, Iowa; Denver; Detroit; Houston; Indianapolis; Kansas City, Mo.; Little Rock, Ark.; Memphis, Tenn.; Phoenix; Providence, R.I.; San Diego; Salt Lake City; and Washington D.C.

Additional cities will be announced later in the year.

Accessing the Verizon 5G network will cost $10 per device on top of the fee for an unlimited plan. Verizon is currently waiving those charges for a limited time.

The 5G service will be unlimited as well, and Verizon says there will be no throttling of data speeds, even when the network gets busy. You can also tether your laptop to a 5G-enabled phone for use as a hot spot without paying an extra charge.

Phone options: Verizon will carry the now-launched 5G-enabled Motorola Z3 and Samsung Galaxy S10 5G.

While it has yet to release any 5G pricing information, Sprint says it’s set to roll out service in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and Kansas City, Kan., this May. But like Verizon, the carrier won’t provide coverage citywide, only in select spots.

The carrier said Thursday that parts of Los Angeles, Houston, New York, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C., will get service "in the coming weeks."

Phone options: Preorders start Friday for the LG V50 ThinQ, which will be exclusive to Sprint for a few months and the carrier's first compatible device. It officially hits stores on May 31. The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G will follow this summer.

This carrier has come under fire from other carriers for labeling its high-speed 4G service “5G Evolution,” potentially misleading consumers into thinking it’s genuine 5G.

It rolled out real 5G service in parts of 12 U.S. cities last year: Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; Dallas; Houston; Indianapolis; Jacksonville, Fla.; Louisville, Ky.; New Orleans, La.; Oklahoma City; Raleigh, N.C.; San Antonio; and Waco, Texas. But that's only for select businesses and consumers. And because 5G smartphones aren’t commercially available, there’s not a whole lot you can do with the service just yet.

The company plans to roll out service to nine more cities this year: Chicago; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Minneapolis; Nashville, Tenn.; Orlando, Fla.; San Diego; San Francisco; and San Jose, Calif. And it expects to have a nationwide 5G network in place by early 2020.

Phone options: The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G will be available this summer, and AT&T says it’s working with Samsung to make another 5G smartphone available in the second half of this year.

Earlier this year, a company spokesperson said T-Mobile, which plans to merge with Sprint, expected to have a 5G network in place when the Galaxy S10 5G went on sale, but wouldn't say which markets will be covered.  

T-Mobile plans to launch a nationwide network in 2020. And while the company won’t reveal specific pricing, it says that a united T-Mobile and Sprint will not charge extra for 5G service, according to current plans.

Phone options: T-Mobile says only that it will carry multiple 5G devices by the end of this year.

5G Phones

The Galaxy S10 5G reached stores on Thursday. The phone will be exclusive to Verizon until later this summer when other carriers will get it, too.

The S10 5G, which will come in both black and silver, will start at $1,300 for a version with 256GB of storage. Boosting the storage to 512GB will run you $100 more.

Think that's pricey? Verizon is currently offering a $200 Mastercard gift card with the purchase of the S10 5G, if you switch to the company's cell service and set up an unlimited data plan. And you can get up to $450 more off with a qualified trade-in, though that discount will come in the form of a monthy bill credit spread over two years. Cancel your service early and you lose out on any remaining credits.

Buy your new S10 5G through Samsung and you can get up to $750 off the purchase of a companion S10, S10+, or S10e model. The company's offering up to $300 more off with the trade in of a qualified phone.

The S10 5G's display, measuring 6.7 inches diagonally, is Samsung’s biggest yet. The model has six cameras, including a 3D depth camera, and will be able to create videos in portrait mode. All of that will be powered by a monster 4,500mAh battery.

The company has also pledged to produce a 5G version of the Galaxy Fold, a phone that opens up into a small tablet. But the launch of the 4G Fold has been indefinitely delayed following media reports of hardware malfunctions. No word yet on when the 5G model will follow.

Preorders for the LG V50 ThinQ, which will cost $1,152 through Sprint, start Friday. The phone will roll out in Sprint's first four 5G markets, then follow in the next five cities to get the service.

Sprint is initially offering half off on an 18-month lease of the phone, which means you would pay $24 per month. Once you hit 18 months, you have the option of turning the phone in and leasing something new or paying off the balance and keeping it. Cancel your service early and you have to pay the phone off.  

Like the V40 ThinQ before it, the V50 will have five cameras—two on the front and three on the back. It also boasts a 4,000mAh battery, stereo boombox speaker, and 6.4-inch OLED display.

Instead of creating a new phone, this manufacturer developed a 5G “mod” for its Z3 model. It’s a hardware attachment that clips on the back.

Now in stores, the device has a built-in 2,000mAh battery and a USB-C port for charging. It retails for $350, but Verizon is currently selling it for $200.

The Z3 phone sells for $480 at Verizon, but the carrier will give it to you for $10 per month (for a total of $240) if you agree to pay it off over a 24-month period. Before the 5G launch, the Z3 did well in our testing, but it’s a midpriced phone with midpriced features.

It has a 6-inch OLED display and comes with 64 gigabytes of storage. The front and back cameras received okay ratings, but they didn’t measure up to those of many phones we’ve tested.